We report paleomagnetic data showing that an intraoceanic Trans-Tethyan subduction zone existed south of the Eurasian continent and north of the Indian subcontinent until at least Paleocene time. This system was active between 66 and 62 Ma at a paleolatitude of 8.1 ± 5.6 °N, placing it 600–2,300 km south of the contemporaneous Eurasian margin. The first ophiolite obductions onto the northern Indian margin also occurred at this time, demonstrating that collision was a multistage process involving at least two subduction systems. Collisional events began with collision of India and the Trans-Tethyan subduction zone in Late Cretaceous to Early Paleocene time, followed by the collision of India (plus Trans-Tethyan ophiolites) with Eurasia in mid-Eocene time. These data constrain the total postcollisional convergence across the India–Eurasia convergent zone to 1,350–2,150 km and limit the north–south extent of northwestern Greater India to <900 km. These results have broad implications for how collisional processes may affect plate reconfigurations, global climate, and biodiversity.